Powerpoint slides not displaying correctly in older versions

When we started using Powerpoint 2010 some of our users started reporting problems when displaying them at presentations using client equipment.

This particularly affected slides with charts – text on axis would be scrunched up, some series lines or bars would disappear etc.

We did some testing and discovered that using older versions of Powerpoint or powerpoint viewers or using compatability pack could not guarantee that the slides would always display correctly.

We had to issue a policy of:

Making sure clients had PowerPoint 2010 or had the Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Viewer installed. (The 2010 Compatibility pack is not good enough).

Or

Take our equipment for use at the presentation.

However, we also worked on a solution and found that if the charts were converted to images then the problems did not re-occur.

What you have to do is:

  • Right click on the chart object within the slide and choose cut
  • Then choose Paste Special and choose Picture as the paste option – you may then need to move the image around a bit to the correct position.
  • Save the presentation with a new name

Eventually we created a Powerpoint macro and attached it to a Powerpoint button. The macro would cycle through the entire presentation and convert any chart objects to pictures and then save it as a image only presentation – get in touch if you require this?

 

Powerpoint crashing when breaking links

We have users who have powerpoint presentations linked to excel files – as worksheet links to a range of cells that includes an Excel chart object. This creates their standard slides for use in presentations, they then copy these slides to bespoke presentations for particular clients. So as we can supply the presentation to the client the links are broken so that the slide is just a standalone image.

This all worked ok but after we upgraded to Office 2010 powerpoint crashed when the links were broken.

This was our submission to Microsoft support:

You have a PowerPoint presentation containing charts linked to Excel files.

When you copy slides containing this kind of chart into a new PowerPoint presentation and then break the links, this new PowerPoint presentation stops responding.

Steps to reproduce:

  1.  copy a chart and the surrounding data from an Excel file
  2. paste it into a PowerPoint presentation with Paste Special -> Paste As Microsoft Excel 2003 Worksheet Object
  3. go to Slide Sorter view
  4. copy the slide containing the chart from this PowerPoint presentation to a new presentation
  5. go to File – Edit Links and break the link
  6. at this point the second PowerPoint presentation will stop responding

Microsoft admitted this was a bug and 5 month’s later {:-| they released a Hotfix!

KB article and fix can be found here: 

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2597145

 

Powerpoint crashing – display issue, hardware acceleration

After upgrading to Office 2010 we had a number of issues with Powerpoint 2010 one of which was to do with random crashing which appeared to be something to do with the graphics system (Powerpoint Graphics engine was completely rewritten for this version).

We tracked it down to hardware acceleration which has been turned on in Office 2010 to improve graphics performance.

Firstly make sure your graphics cards drivers are up to date – you obviously want to use hardware acceleration if you can!

You can disable hardware acceleration by using group policy or within Powerpoint options.

Group policy:

office 2010 ha.png

User ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesClassic Administrative TemplatesMicrosoft Office 2010MiscellaneousDo not use hardware graphics acceleration

Powerpoint options:

Goto File menu, Options, Advanced, Under Display section tick Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration option

We needed activate this setting via Group Policy as this problem was particularly acute on our terminal server so it needed to be set for all users.

 

 

 

Powerpoint files become corrupted after saving

We had a number of powerpoint users complaining that their slide shows were suddenly becoming corrupt even though they had experienced no crash or error message. Just saved as normal but next time they try and open it they get an error:

“The server application source file or item cannot be found or returns an inknown error you may need to re-install the server application.”

We found the cause of this was that network drives were being disconnected and re-connected after the user had opened the slide show.

For example:

1. User logs on to machine

2. They immediately open a Powerpoint slide show from an existing network drive and start working on it

3. The user is using a machine on a corporate  network which runs a logon script. This script has not completed its tasks and part of the script makes sure all relevant network drives exist by disconnecting and re-connecting the network drives (does this to avoid situation where a rogue network drive mapping has occurred i.e. X is connected to something different than what the company policy stipulates).

4. One of these network drives contains the file the user is working on. The file is now in memory and everything carries on as normal but when the user later saves the file it becomes corrupted without informing the user.

This is a know Bug in Powerpoint – basically Powerpoint cannot handle removable media which the network drive will be seen as.

This problem was particularly prevelant on terminal server sessions where the logon script can take some time to complete.

A workaround is to force the logon script to run before explorer.exe loads using group policy:

Run logon scripts synchronously

User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesSystemLogon
Description
Directs the system to wait for logon scripts to finish running before it starts the Windows Explorer interface program and creates the desktop.
If you enable this policy, Windows Explorer does not start until the logon scripts have finished running. This setting assures that logon script processing is complete before the user starts working, but it can delay the appearance of the desktop.

If you disable this policy or do not configure it, the logon scripts and Windows Explorer are not synchronized and can run simultaneously.

This policy appears in the Computer Configuration and User Configuration folders. The policy set in Computer Configuration takes precedence over the policy set in User Configuration.

I’ve also attached a screenshot of the location of this feature:

An alternative workaround is to manage your logon script so that disconnections are not needed. In the example given you could issue a group policy to disable users ability to map drives. You would then only need to connect drives in the logon script: